Kolkata is a melting pot of culture and diversity. From the performance of Mangal Pandey in suburban Barrackpore to the Direct Action Day riots of 1946, formerly known as Calcutta, now Kolkata, has many stories to tell us about. It is a city feeded in history, where the old and the new, the past and the present, come together in unpredicted ways and create a colorful culture that manifests itself in the city’s many passions – politics, theatre, art, football and food.
The City: Then and Now:
The history of Calcutta began when Job Charnock, an authorized person of the East India Company, arrived at the small fishing villages of Kalikata, Sutanuti and Gobindapur in 1690, and convince the Company to start building its commercial base in Bengal. Thereafter the city, was no more than a mass of fishing villages, grew in leaps and bounds till it was made the capital of the British Empire. During India’s battle for independence, Calcutta came ront as the epicenter of anti-British activities.
Today, Kolkata is home to over 4.5 million people, and is often called the ‘cultural capital’ of India. Kolkata is famous for its colonial edifices and modern amusement houses, growing economy, Kolkata is a city that flouts definitions and yet, entices passionate tourists from all over the world.
Things to Do While You’re Here
To really get a ‘feel’ of the city and trust me, this city is just all about feeling – don’t leave before you:
When in Kolkata, it is a must to visit to the city’s representation of colonial glory: the Victoria Memorial, an architectural wonder constructed in Queen Victoria’s name. Not to forget: the fabulous museum inside.
If you’re looking for romance, enjoy a sunset seen on the Hooghly River, under the iconic Howrah Bridge which is a famous symbol of Kolkata and West Bengal.
Set aside a day to look into the outskirts of the city, from a trip to Barrackpore to see the Mangal Pandey Park to a visit to the Dakshineswar Kali Temple, built on the banks of the River Ganga.
For hidden treasures in Kolkata, take a trip to the Armenian Church in the Old China Bazaar, or to Bow Barracks, a narrow path that houses one of the oldest communities of Anglo-Indians in the country.
Kolkata is a heaven for street-food lover’s. Try Kolkata’s famous Kathi rolls at Kusum’s on Park Street or the melt-in-your-mouth Calcutta Biriyani at Arsalan. Seafood is at its top-quality in Kolkata; don’t miss the famous Bhetki Paturi, fish pieces smoked in banana leaf. And where would a Bengali be without his sweet tooth? Try the Mishti Doi, Rosogolla, Shondesh and Jilipi while you’re here.
For a instance Kolkata experience, go to New Market, a token of the colonial era, that is now a booming market and sells everything from fresh produce to handcrafted silver. Walk down Sudder Street to buy curios, old gramophone records and junk jewellery. Also don’t forget to visit the famous College Street to pick up almost any second-hand book on the planet, or drop by Dakshinapan Market to shop for beautiful handicrafts.
- Getting There :
Kolkata is well connected by metros, local trains, taxis and cabs. Although trams are the archetypal resident remains, they now remain limited to certain sections of the city only. You can also take a horse-carriage ride or tonga ride around some parts of the city. Kolkata is well-connected to all leading Indian cities by air, rail and by road.